NFC West: Donny Lisowski

Thoughts as Seahawks cut Owens, Lutui

August, 26, 2012
Initial thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' moves as the mandatory reduction to 75-man rosters approaches Monday:
  • Deuce Lutui appeared likely to earn a roster spot, but things changed when rookie seventh-round pick J.R. Sweezy made a surprisingly quick conversion from college defensive lineman to NFL guard. Sweezy suddenly looks like a strong candidate to supplant incumbent John Moffitt as the starting right guard. That made Lutui expendable. Also, Lutui wasn't ideally suited for the Seahawks' zone blocking scheme. He probably would have helped most in pass protection. I think Lutui could help someone. Seems like St. Louis could stand to check him out, at least.
  • Alex Barron's release makes available a veteran tackle with talent and a history of inconsistent play. I thought Barron looked good early in camp. Arizona has obvious needs at tackle. Barron is probably more talented than other players available at this time. We'll have to see if that changes as teams reduce their rosters. Barron can play both tackle spots. He's spent the past month working against Seattle's pass-rushers in practice. He has fared pretty well at times, too. Arizona faces those same pass-rushers in Week 1.
  • Terrell Owens' name was on the cut list, as expected. Braylon Edwards' emergence played a role in Owens' departure.
  • Cornerback Roy Lewis played nearly a quarter of the Seahawks' defensive snaps last season. The team waived him with an injury designation. Lewis could land on injured reserve if he clears waivers. Or, the team could reach an injury settlement with him, allowing Lewis to sign with Seattle or another team once he's healthy.
  • Anthony McCoy seemed to help his cause at tight end against Kansas City on Friday night. He looks like the favorite to become the third tight end now that the team waived/injured Cameron Morrah.
  • Pep Levingston and Jameson Konz also received the waived/injured designation. Levingston impressed during pass-rush drills at times, but Clinton McDonald and others have offered more.
  • I'll be curious to see whether receiver Phil Bates lands on the practice squad. Also waived: tackle Edawn Coughman, cornerback Donny Lisowski, cornerback Ron Parker and running back Tyrell Sutton.
  • Seattle now has 77 players on its roster, by my count. The team must reduce to 75 by Monday at 4 p.m. ET. Placing offensive lineman James Carpenter on the reserve/physically unable to perform list appears likely.

Back to watching the San Francisco 49ers against the Denver Broncos. More in a bit.
Our two-day look at NFC West rosters continues with projections for the Seattle Seahawks’ defense and special teams.

Defensive linemen (13)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.8

Safest bets: Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Brandon Mebane, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Alan Branch

Leading contenders: Clinton McDonald, Jaye Howard, Greg Scruggs, Pep Levingston

Longer odds: Pierre Allen, Cordarro Law, Dexter Davis

Comment: The Seahawks finished the 2009 season with Bryant, Mebane, Craig Terrill, Colin Cole, Nick Reed, Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding and Darryl Tapp on their 53-man roster. Pete Carroll has transformed the line since becoming head coach before the 2010 season. The changes have been as much about fit as personnel. The group keeps getting stronger.

Linebackers (12)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.6

Safest bets: K.J. Wright, Leroy Hill, Bobby Wagner, Korey Toomer

Leading contenders: Heath Farwell, Matt McCoy, Malcolm Smith, Barrett Ruud

Longer odds: Michael Morgan, Allen Bradford, Kyle Knox, Jameson Konz

Comment: Toomer's arrival in the fifth round cranks up the pressure on Smith, a 2011 seventh-round choice. Farwell and McCoy could be competing for a spot. Farwell is better on special teams. McCoy offers more at linebacker. Bradford is converting from running back and has a chance to stick in some capacity. Ruud looks like insurance for Wagner, but his health is a concern.

Defensive backs (17)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.2

Safest bets: Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman

Leading contenders: Jeron Johnson, Byron Maxwell, Roy Lewis, Marcus Trufant, Walter Thurmond, Winston Guy

Longer odds: DeShawn Shead, Ron Parker, Coye Francies, Donny Lisowski, Jeremy Lane, Phillip Adams, Chris Maragos

Comment: Three of the four starters went to the Pro Bowl last season; Sherman arguably should have gone. Trufant's conversion to a nickel role has the potential to upgrade Seattle's coverage. Injuries sidelined Trufant and Thurmond last season. Both can contribute at a reasonably high level if healthy. It's tough to bank on either one, however. Don't forget about Maxwell. He impressed in camp as a rookie, only to fade from the picture after suffering an ankle injury. Seattle likes its depth at corner. Johnson should be ready to take a step forward at safety. The Seahawks like what they've seen from Guy as well.

Special teams (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.1

Safest bets: Jon Ryan, Steven Hauschka, Clint Gresham

Leading contenders: none

Longer odds: Carson Wiggs

Comment: Ryan led the NFL with 34 punts downed inside the 20 (against eight touchbacks). Opponents returned two punts for touchdowns, however.
NFC West teams owned six first-round choices in the 2010 NFL draft.

Sam Bradford, Russell Okung, Anthony Davis, Earl Thomas, Mike Iupati and Dan Williams were the selections.

One of them has emerged as a Pro Bowl performer (Thomas). Another has shown signs of reaching that level (Iupati).

One has been up and down to this point, subsequently drawing high marks from his coach for his footwork and overall improvement this offseason (Davis). Another is coming off a rough second season and learning his third offensive system in as many years (Bradford).

That leaves Okung and Williams in another category: highly valued players coming off season-ending surgeries.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic says Williams has reported to the Cardinals' organized team activities in much better shape than when the nose tackle reported to camp following the lockout last offseason. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "He had conditioning at the end of practice (Tuesday), and he made it, which is a great sign for where we are. The big thing with Dan is there have been a lot of players who have told him how much they are counting on him this year. And I think that has an impact on Dan. He's working hard, have to give him a lot of credit, especially coming back from the arm. But I'm excited to see how he continues to progress."

Darren Urban of checks in with Greg Toler as the cornerback works his way back from knee surgery. Toler is wearing a brace in practice.

Matt Maiocco of says 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh stands by his comments about Michael Crabtree owning the best hands of any receiver the coach has ever seen. Also, Alex Boone is the starting right guard at this point, with Daniel Kilgore as the backup center. Harbaugh: "The comment stands on its own merit. I know you guys have dissected it about every which way it can be dissected. But it is literal. It is a literal fact, what I believe as I see it and believe it to be."

Also from Maiocco: Andy Lee's new deal is for $20.5 million over six years, with $7.1 million in the first two years.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers this from Alex Smith regarding the quarterback's rapport with Crabtree: "We're a little further along. I feel good about body language and things like that. The thing I'm excited for him is not only is it his first offseason, he's healthy. I think he's excited about that. He's feeling really good. It shows up here. He's running better than he ever has since I've seen him."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says much is on the line for Smith this season.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith sees no problem with the 49ers' No. 29 ranking in passing yards per game given how the team played overall. Smith: "I could absolutely care less on yards per game. I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what, you’re like the Carolina Panthers and you're going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though." Noted: Does anyone care much about passing yards per game?

Clare Farnsworth of says Kellen Winslow has no hard feelings about being traded to Seattle, according to Winslow's famous father. The elder Winslow, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune: "This came out of the blue that the trade was going to be going down. I was hoping he would be traded someplace that had the possibility of making the playoffs. He was happy. He knew Coach (Pete) Carroll from his days of being recruited to USC. So there is knowledge there. So many people take a trade as something negative. And it’s not. He may not fit in one team’s plan, but you fit in another team’s plan. So it is a good thing. In today’s game, a player moving around is nothing new. It is rare to see a guy stay with one team, unless you’re a quarterback or a left tackle."

Also from Farnsworth: Local product Donny Lisowski has impressed the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent. Carroll: "I like Donny Lisowski. He was all over the place out here. I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. Then he went out here and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him. I think he’ll surprise you. I’m anxious to see what he can do on special teams, and all kinds of stuff. He’s a playmaker and was all over the field."

Brock Huard of 710ESPN Seattle explains why he thinks the quarterback job is Matt Flynn's to lose in Seattle.

Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune says Winslow's former landlord is trying to recoup $133,000 in alleged damages. Winslow's attorney denies any wrongdoing.

Danny Kelly of Field Gulls offers Winslow-related thoughts from Seahawks general manager John Schneider, as told to PFT Live. Schneider: "First and foremost, we've been looking for that position. We've been looking for a guy that can get down the field. Obviously, Kellen's been very productive the past couple of years down in Tampa Bay, I think second only to Jimmy Giles in team history. Secondly, I have a great relationship with Mark Dominik. We've known each other probably fifteen, twenty years now. When you have a strong relationship with someone like that, you're able to share situations, share experiences, and be able to work rather quickly with each other, and we have a specific trust level in place, and we were able to work it out."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch checks in with Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and select teammates. Rookie receiver Chris Givens, on Bradford: "He makes everything a lot easier for us. He's everything I heard about and more. He makes every throw, and he's always on point. He's just a great leader. He does a good job of picking us up after practice, working on the things where we had mistakes. Even during practice, he's there in our ear telling us 'Good job,' whether it was a bad play or a good play."

Also from Nelson: a look at the Rams' tight ends.